Composting-CompostWpg-mainpageWhen it comes to the importance of composting, an excellent case in point is proper waste management for Winnipeg. We love our city, we are proud of it, and we all generally want to do the right thing, right?

First, let me point out that Winnipeg currently sits at the bottom of the list for this type of waste diversion. A 2011 composting survey showed that only 23% of Winnipeggers compost their kitchen waste. Compared to other Canadian provinces, Manitoba is at the bottom for waste diversion rates per capita (after NFL and QC). Basically, we’re missing the bandwagon and frankly, it looks bad. Really bad.

THE ROADcompost-2009 Organics program in Toronto (provided by Bruce Berry) TO CHANGE

Change is hard and there are sure to be a few bumps in the road, but in this case, change is for the best. Suggesting a fee for any kind of service is never going to be someone’s favourite way to go. But in the end this is small peanuts compared to what could be accomplished from such an initiative. And I mean peanuts. A proposed fee forcurbside pickup in Winnipeg is $55-$100 per year, which equals only 14 to 27 cents a day per household!


Green Action Ccompostentre promotes composting and waste diversion in all its forms: backyard composting, curbside pickup services, and bans on organic waste in landfills. For us, the best solution is all of the above. Backyard composting is particularly awesome because of the benefits to the individual user: free natural fertilizer that provides nutrients and greater moisture retention in the garden, and a better connection to our food cycles. Plus there are no transportation emissions from picking up and hauling kitchen waste.

Teach kids about how the banana peel will break down and become dirt and watch the wonder unfold.


For a residential pickup system, the benefits satisfy a different side of the issue.

compost -2009 Organics program in Toronto (provided by Bruce Berry)3 - cropped for websiteA city-wide pickup system puts waste diversion on the table for all citizens, regardless of what type of residence you live in. It also serves those who are not interested in backyard composting. (Yes, we know you’re out there and it’s okay).

Plus, more accepted materials means greater waste diversion. Meat and meat bones, dairy and pet waste all add to the pile and when combined, actually make a significant impact on the volume of waste that we produce in a city of 750 000 people. Think about it.

But the real impact of such a program comes from the cold hard numbers that are altered when we simply remove organics from the landfill. I’m talking about the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that are the focus of all climate change talks and taMythbusting - landfill depositrgets.

If anything came out of COP21 in Paris this November, I think the overall message was: GHGs = bad, not just for Earth but also for the future of us as humans. Cars, trucks, factories, oil rigs, these are all guilty members of the pollution party, but consider the landfill that is filled with your everyday trash. When organics end up in a landfill they are compressed into the ground and create a gas known as methane, which is 21 times more powerful than the emissions from your car.


We know that removing organics from the landfill will significantly reduce emissions from the landfill. Then is 27 cents a day really too much?

Perhaps the real question is how are we presBags of yard waste - leavesenting the fee? Perhaps we should be charging for garbage and rewarding those that compost. What if we highlighted the positive behaviour of composting and reducing waste vs. the negative behaviour of sending trash to the landfill?

Proper waste management is an integral part of the functioning of a city. It is a civic responsibility. We all eat food, we all make garbage, and we all need to get rid of it somehow. Some things are a shared responsibility. Consider those who don’t drive but have to pay for snow clearing of roads, city park maintenance for those that don’t go outdoors, or street patrols for those who don’t go downtown. These are essential services that come with living in a beautiful, safe and responsible city like Winnipeg. Waste management is no different. We know that composting is the right thing to do, we know that it can be done and done well. And we know that it’s a start down the road to a more sustainable Winnipeg.

Want to have a say in these decisions for Winnipeg? Read Green Action Centre’s recommendation to the city.  Then, let City Council know that you support this movement by signing the petition and let’s make change happen in Winnipeg!